Monday, January 29, 2024

Mixing Patterns in 5 Easy Steps - Parts 3 and 4

Last week we took a look at several color schemes for each of our two fabrics. This week we will begin choosing fabrics.

In addition to color combinations, you need to consider other factors when selecting coordinating fabrics. One of those factors is the type of fabric. For example, are you looking for drapery or upholstery fabric? The second factor, related to the first, is durability. We covered fabric durability and ratings in previous blog entries that you can go back to read at your leisure, so rather than repeat that here, we'll move on to step 4. Of course, as always, if you have any questions about these topics, please submit them in the comments section.

Your coordinating fabrics should be different in at least one of the following ways in addition to having a color from your main fabric:
  • Texture: Choose fabrics with different textures. For example, Steve's fabric, the blue and yellow French toile, is smooth with a soft sheen, so you might want to look for a fabric that has a velvet or chenille texture, or one with a puckered or matelasse or quilted look.

  • Scale: Patterns should be different sizes. The floral chintz we started with here is a medium  scale, so you would look for a smaller scale (perhaps a plaid, check, or stripe in coordinating colors) and one smaller pattern or a solid. Vary the size of the patterns by including one large, one medium, and one smaller pattern (a small patterned print, or embroidered design) or solid (preferably in a textured finish)
    • Sheen: Use fabrics that have a sheen (and reflect light) to contrast with fabrics that have a flat or matte finish (and absorb light).
    • Patterns: Mix different types of patterns. Steve's inspiration fabric shown has a floral pattern, so look for a geomtric, plaid, or trellis design, a linear toile, and maybe a small print or motif patterned solid. Although the focus is on choosing three fabrics, you can apply them to combinations of four or more if you wish.
    Try mixing different types and styles of fabrics until you find a grouping that you like. Color, scale, and patterns should be pleasantly balanced. It is better to work with actual swatches if they are available, or you can use pictures on your computer, as we did here, or print the pictures in color, cut them, and "play" with them that way.  (Remember, though, colors are not always accurately or uniformly depicted on and across computers.)
    Be sure to keep the patterns as close to scale as possible if you do it the latter way. If fabric is inexpensive, you might want to purchase a yard. This is a great way to really see how fabrics will work and if you are crafty, you can always use any fabrics you decide not to add to the room for another project.

                      Next week...Part 5